20 Funny Black Women of Twitter

6329933070_9b555d2325When Saturday Night Live announced its newest cast members earlier this season, there was some not-so-surprising news: For the sixth year in a row, the legendary sketch comedy show would not feature any black female cast members. And this week it got a whole lot worse. Reports TV Guide:

Instead of blaming showrunner Lorne Michaels or the series, which currently only employs three actors of color out of 16 cast members, [cast member Kenan] Thompson blames the lack of quality black female comedians. ‘It’s just a tough part of the business,’ Thompson says. ‘Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.

Thompson’s comments, eerily reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” gaffe, have sparked some excellent articles defending the comedic chops of black women. Check out this one by comic Erica Watson detailing how Thompson’s views are symptomatic of black male comics “throwing black women under the bus” to get ahead, or this article in The Grio and this article in Jet by Kyra Kyles.

So, instead of repeating what has already been said, here’s the beginning of a simple list of 20 black women comics on Twitter who prove that black women are funny. Who would you add to the list? Join the conversation on Twitter at #blackwomenarefunny

  1. Living legend Whoopi Goldberg needs no introduction. The groundbreaking comedian/actress/writer who can now be seen on The View, has been in the business for decades and, like a fine wine, is only improving with age.
  2. Wanda Sykes is hilarious. From her side-splitting standup to her TV show to her film career, the versatile comic is smart and on target with her witty pop culture analysis. Check her new show, aptly titled Herlarious.
  3. Biracial Maya Rudolph parlayed her stint as one of the four black women to ever star on SNL into becoming a smart, sexy box-office lead with the film Away We Go, the TV sitcom Up All Night and other projects.
  4. Franchesca Ramsey (aka Chesca Leigh) became famous for her viral web series S**** White Girls Say to Black Girls on her YouTube channel. Smart, young and funny, she has an original voice all her own.
  5. Erica Watson is a comic, writer and film director whose one-woman show Fat Bitch garnered rave reviews.
  6. Nene Lekes rose to fame on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and was hand-picked to star in the hit TV sitcom Glee because of her comedic chops.
  7. Jessica Williams cut her teeth on Nickelodeon and is now a correspondent on The Daily Show—giving us another reason to love Jon Stewart.
  8. Tracee Ellis Ross is a writer and comedic actress best known for her role on Girlfriends and now Reed Between The Lines.
  9. One of the hardest working people in the business, Tia Mowry of Sister Sister, The Game, Tia and Tamera and now Instant Mom, is a veteran TV and film comedic actor.
  10. Laverne Cox made history by becoming the first transgender actress of color to star in a mainstream scripted TV show. She has won awards for her work acting in film, television, and producing.  And she is fuunnnnny.
  11. Retta of Parks and Recreation was so funny the producers turned a hit guest spot into a recurring season regular. Work it!
  12. Issa Rae became famous as the creator/star of the viral web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, just picked up for a development deal by HBO.
  13. The hilarious Loni Love began her career on VH1 and is now the best reason to tune into Chelsea Lately on E.
  14. Yvette Nicole Brown is a comedic actor who has appeared in The War At Home, Malcolm in the Middle, That’s So Raven and the U.S. version of The Office, and now stars in Community.
  15. Marina Franklin is a gifted comic who has been seen on Showtime’s Women Who Kill, Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show, The Jay Leno Show, NBC’s Last Comic Standing Season II, Showtime at The Apollo, Chappelle’s Show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, and most recently Wanda Syke’s Herlarious.
  16. Phoebe Robinson is the creator of Blaria, the black Daria. She writes for Glamour.com, contributes to The New York Times and is one of the “Funny Women You Should Be Following On Twitter” according to The Huffington Post.
  17. Gina Yashere is a UK-based comedian who has been crowned “Best Female Comedian” at the Black Entertainment & Comedy Awards in the UK the past four years. She just released her DVD Laughing To America after being featured in a Showtime special, Skinny Bitch.
  18. The always real Cathy Lewis runs her own production company, is the subject of a documentary and has appeared on TV shows aired on BET and Nickelodeon.
  19. Gloria Bigelow is a comedian and professionally trained actor who kicked off the first episode of Wanda Sykes Herlarious and has also appeared in The New York Underground Comedy Festival, Michigan Comedy Fest, the Outlaugh Comedy Festival and the Bridgetown Comedy Festival.
  20. Second City alum Nyima Funk has appeared on The George Lopez Show, Whose Line Is It Anyway, Girlfriends and Thank God You’re Here, among other TV shows. She is also a writer for comedian Katt Williams.

 Photo courtesy of engine29 via Creative Commons 2.0.

aslan and mommy at the beach edited

Hope Wabuke runs a communications company called The WriteSmiths and is director of media & communications for the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction. She is currently at work on a poetry collection about her family’s escape from Idi Amin’s Ugandan genocide. She blogs at hope after yoga and you can follow her on Twitter@HopeWabuke.


  1. Add these 2 women please
    Aisha Tyler
    Regina King

  2. tina ferrua says:

    there’a something funny about putting a transgender woman on this list… maybe kenan thompson is right about the dearth of black female comedians. listing a former cast member is also funny…

  3. Cathy Lewis says:

    I am truly Honored to be included in this line up of Funny Azz Women;)
    And Yes, I will keep it Real always;)
    God & Dreams

  4. Cathy Lewis says:


  5. I totally agree that it was ignorant and stupid of Kenan to make those comments… but this list doesn’t prove anything. He said that they were unable to find female black comidiennes who were ready for SNL, not any funny female black women. Stand up and improv are completely different animals. And certainly putting a former SNL cast member on this list doesn’t prove anything…

    • Annie McFunny McKnight says:

      True dat Angela. SNL is in need of a comedic character actress. We are out her. I must toot my horn.
      Michael where are you? Turn your lights on I’m over here. Yoo Hoo!

  6. Aisha Tyler rocks! But I don’t think they’re gonna get her (or Wanda Sykes) on SNL. Those women have more important things to do.

  7. This is awesome! Thank you for showing me love in your article! And yes there are funny black women, who are standup-up comedians, improvisers and sketch artists who are ready for SNL!!!! Thanks!!!! 🙂

  8. Thanks Cathy and Erica! Definitely add Aisha Tyler, Regina King, and Awesomely Luuvie to the list…and keep the names coming!

    And to the others–the point is not that these 20 women listed here should be on SNL. The point is that there is no excuse for a mainstream TV show like SNL that represents black women in its sketches to not feature any black women for the past 6 years–or longer, depending on the definition of black vs. biracial. The point is about representation–how the depictions of black women then either became a minstrel show by light skinned actors or sexist caricatures by black men playing black women, often in very offensive ways. The point is that if SNL cared to feature black women, the show only has to look on twitter to recruit/invite any up and coming comic/comedian to audition, reach out to any of the 4 black women who have been on SNL like Maya Rudolph OR any legendary comedian like Whoopi Goldberg and Wanda Sykes for some good up and coming comics to audition for SNL. The point is that for SNL to simply say they couldn’t find any black women who are ready enough for the show is pure laziness. What if Congress said we don’t have any women in the House or the Senate because we couldn’t find any who were “ready.” What if law enforcement said that? What if any other job sector said that? What then?

  9. Funny black female comics are all around us, A-listed or not. For me, I’ve got showtime, TBS,comedic view, comics unleashed credits and more. I even have management. (All be it.. Maybe not the best, but doing what I can) yet, .but it seems the research doesn’t go deep enuf to find these diva’s of comedy. Hollywood can be a facade… You THINK people are watching, and following your career, you hope the opportunity is around the corner, then you read an article like this , can’t find us.? What?

  10. Jennifer Wilson says:

    Please add the very funny and talented Annie McKnight!!!

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